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Apollo 8

Day 2: The Green Team

Corrected Transcript and Commentary Copyright © 2003-2021 by W. David Woods and Frank O'Brien. All rights reserved.
Last updated 2021-02-27
At the Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, it is coming up to twenty past five in the morning (11:20 GMT) on Sunday, 22nd December 1968. Apollo 8 has completed its first day in space and is continuing to take three humans further away from Earth than anyone has ever travelled previously.
Two crewmembers, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, are in the middle of their rest period and should be sleeping. The commander of the mission, Frank Borman, is taking care of the spacecraft and watching over its systems. However he feels very unwell, has struggled and failed to keep his food down and has a bout of diarrhoea.
In the Mission Operation Control Room, known as the MOCR and pronounced to rhyme with "poker", the Green Team under the leadership of Cliff Charlesworth has just come on shift. This is the same team that sent Apollo 8 on its way a day ago. The main team members are as follows:
Flight Director:Clifford E. Charlesworth
Flight Analysis Officer (FAO):Tommy W. Holloway
Operations & Procedures (O&P):Lawrence L. Armstrong
Harley L. Weyer
Flight Dynamics Officer (FIDO):Edward L. Pavelka
George C. Guthrie
Guidance Officer (GUIDO):Charley B. Parker
Raymond F. Teague
Retrofire Officer (RETRO):Jerry C. Bostick
Guidance, Navigation & Control (GNC):Gary E. Coen
Richard B. Benson
Electrical & Environmental Control Systems Officer. (EECOM):John W. Aaron
Finally, Mike Collins has taken over the CapCom position.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. 22 hours, 27 minutes, 28 seconds now into the flight of Apollo 8. The Apollo 8 spacecraft up to now 96,265 nautical miles [178,282 km] in altitude. Its velocity reading at this time, 5,556 feet per second, 5,556 feet per second [1,695 m/s]. Again, as has been characteristic - during this shift we've had no conversation with spacecraft commander Frank Borman since our last report. Meanwhile in our Mission Control Center, Cliff Charlesworth's team of flight controllers have taken over. And they're going to - Flight Director Cliff Charlesworth is now going around the room discussing various aspects of the mission with each of his key flight controllers. During the Black Team change - Black Team shift, we found Colonel Borman asleep for a good segment of that period. And he reported approximately 5 hours of sleep and then at about 18 hours, 40 minutes GET astronauts Bill Anders and Jim Lovell had their first opportunity to relax since awakening at 2:36 Eastern Standard Time Saturday morning. Otherwise, all systems appear to be functioning quite smoothly. And at 22 hours and 29 minutes, 48 seconds; this is Apollo Control, Houston.
022:41:24 Borman: Houston. How do you read, Apollo 8?
022:41:26 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Go ahead.
022:41:29 Borman: How do you read?
022:41:31 Collins: Reading you loud and clear, Frank. Good morning. How are you doing?
022:41:34 Borman: Hi Michael. We just broke lock for a minute, and I wondered why.
022:41:38 Collins: Roger.
Comm break.
022:43:14 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston.
022:43:17 Borman: Go ahead.
022:43:20 Collins: Roger. Your break lock is due to the fact we switched our antennas over from Honeysuckle to Madrid. Over.
022:43:28 Borman: Roger. Thank you.
Very long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. 22 hours, 50 minutes, 48 seconds now into the flight of Apollo 8. The Apollo 8 spacecraft at this time 97,513 nautical miles [180,594 km] in altitude. Its present velocity reads 5,504.2 feet per second [1,677.7 m/s]. We have, a short while ago broke our communications silence with spacecraft Commander Borman. He called down and asked a question [about a communications break]. ... [The] crisp and chipper voice from the ground was Mike Collins who has taken over the Capsule Communicator's role here in Mission Control Center. Meanwhile at 22 hours, 52 minutes, 28 seconds into the flight of Apollo 8, we're looking good and this is Apollo Control, Houston.
Apollo Control here at 23 hours, 10 minutes into the flight. And on behalf of the Green Team, good morning. We have had a shift change in the Control Center. And our Capsule Communicator, Mike Collins, is about to engage Frank Borman in a conversation in which he will cover, among other things, the fact that based on the tracking of the last 12 hours, we see only a need for another midcourse on the order of 0.7 feet per second. Which is too small - within our ground rules to bother with. And that is the position we will take. Don't really expect the crew would have a different view. All the other data sources, all the data looks quite consistent with Flight Plans and hopes to this point - we've had a relatively quiet period over the last few hours. Very little communication with this crew. Here goes the first call. Let's listen.
023:11:48 Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over.
023:11:53 Borman: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8.
023:11:55 Collins: Roger, Frank. We would like to bring you up to date on your trajectory. This midcourse coming up at 28 hours GET turns out to be very small, 0.7 feet per second, and we would like not to do it. Our data is looking extremely good and extrapolating it forward; it shows the midcourse number 4 at LOI minus 8 hours would be about 4 feet per second. In the meantime, the free return trajectory is looking very good with a water splash point off the coast of Africa. So it looks like you are right down the old center line, and we propose not to do the next midcourse. Over.
023:12:37 Borman: Fine with us.
The trajectory of Apollo 8 is very good, and the measured error in their trajectory is so small, it is likely to be indistinguishable from the inherent errors in the measurement technique.Both this, the second, and the third midcourse corrections will be cancelled. The fourth and final correction which is the only other midcourse adjustment will be a small, 1.4 foot per second burn using the RCS thrusters.
One feature of their trajectory is its inherent safety. If the crew do nothing, the Moon's gravity will swing them right around itself and cast them straight back to Earth. This is the "free return" trajectory and will be a feature throughout the manned Apollo missions to the Moon though later flights will only use it partially in their quest to push for higher payloads to high-latitude sites.
023:12:40 Collins: Okay. And in regard to your timeline here, we suggest that you let Bill and Jim sleep for an extra period of time and don't wake them up until 26:30 GET, and that would cause deletion of P52 and P23 at 26 hours GET. Over.
023:13:08 Borman: Roger. Understand. Delete P52 and P23.
023:13:12 Collins: Affirmative. Delete those at 26 hours, wake the other two guys up at 26:30 at which time they can eat, and then chlorinate the water supply after they have eaten.
023:13:29 Borman: Roger.
023:13:30 Collins: That would put us back on our nominal Flight Plan at 28 hours GET. Over.
023:13:38 Borman: Roger. [Pause.]
With the midcourse correction cancelled, the realignment of the platform is no longer required. Jim and Bill were scheduled to be awakened at 25 hours, but the cancellation of MCC-2 has given them some free time. The extra 90 minutes of sleep would probably be very welcome, especially after the long launch day. First nights in space, as Jim puts it later, are "always a bit slow", that is, getting to sleep in the new environment is a learning experience. In the MOCR, the flight surgeon is watching the heartbeat and respiration of the crew and will be aware that the quality of sleep being gained is poor. Jim's next navigation exercise is also being cancelled to accommodate the extra sleep and their subsequent meal.
All this planning for extra sleep is for naught, as both Jim and Bill are awake by 24:45.
At 28 hours, Jim is scheduled to begin a further navigation exercise while Bill is to make some checks of the SPS (Service Propulsion System).
023:13:43 Collins: How's all that grab you?
023:13:47 Borman: Fine.
023:13:50 Collins: Okay.
Very long comm break.
Apollo Control here. That apparently wraps up the conversation with this opening shift period this morning. We're - one other item of interest. We are rapidly nearing the 100,000-[nautical] mile point presently. 98,891 [183,146 km]. And we will certainly note the passage of the 100,000-mile mark - the big yellow line extending on our Earth/Moon map. Spacecraft is now roughly half way to its target, a small little white dot off in the far right, which is out at the 210,000 mark, for our mapping purposes. And all in all, that's our status at 23 hours, 17 minutes into the flight.
023:38:39 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston, Over.
023:38:43 Borman: Go ahead, Houston.
023:38:45 Collins: Roger, we're switching antennas again at 23:40 GET. You can expect a momentary break lock, and also we would like to bring you up to date on the Passive Thermal Control. We expect to keep the same PTC [Passive Thermal Control] attitude until 28 hours GET. Over.
023:39:05 Borman: Fine; thank you. How is the thermal control working?
023:39:10 Collins: Working good, Frank. I can give you some details if you want it.
023:39:18 Borman: Go ahead. [Long pause.]
023:39:39 Borman: I am all ears, Houston. Go ahead with the details.
023:39:42 Collins: Okay. Stand by one until we switch our antennas, Frank. We'll be right with you.
023:39:50 Borman: Roger. [Long pause.]
023:40:41 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over.
023:40:43 Borman: Go ahead.
023:40:45 Collins: On your PTC, [the temperatures of] quads A, C, and D seem to be just about identical. Quad B is running slightly cooler, but only very slightly so. The temperature read-outs in all respects are normal, so apparently the PTC is working well from a thermal viewpoint. And as far as the fuel consumption goes, it's minimal, just about like we expected. Have you got any comments about PTC? How does it seem to you?
023:41:13 Borman: Seems fine. Seems to be working all right, just like you said. I was just wondering how the read-outs from the SPS were, too.
023:41:48 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. The SPS temperature is normal. If anything, it's slightly warmer than we expected, so you are in real good shape in that respect.
023:41:59 Borman: Thank you. [Long pause.]
023:42:19 Collins: Frank, the PU valve temperature is running about 72 degrees [Fahrenheit, 22°C], which is better control than we got here in this room.
023:42:29 Borman: Roger.
Long comm break.
During a long firing of the SPS engine, the ratio of fuel to oxidiser can be adjusted to try and ensure both propellants are being depleted equally. This manual operation, carried out by the LMP, is achieved with the Propellant Utilization (or PU) valve.
023:47:21 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over.
023:47:25 Borman: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8.
023:47:28 Collins: Roger. It is time to do a cryo fan cycle, Frank, on all four fans; a short burst from each of them as you did before.
Frank stirs the two oxygen and two hydrogen tanks sequentially to homogenise their contents and improve the accuracy of their quantity readings.
023:47:37 Borman: Understand. 2 minutes each on all cryo fans.
023:47:39 Collins: Roger.
Long comm break.
This is Apollo Control Houston. 23 hours, 48 minutes into the flight. Mike Collins has been chatting with Frank Borman about this net for the past few minutes... Apparently Borman - Lovell and Anders are sleeping quite soundly. We can almost detect that Frank Borman is keeping his voice in a low measured tone to avoid rousing them, We have suggested that their sleep period be extended as much as an hour - hour and a half. They were up nearly 24 hours, in fact, probably every bit of 24 hours due to the fact that they were roused about 2:30 yesterday morning Cape time and they went to sleep, oh, about 6 hours ago. It sort of made for a long day and apparently had no trouble sacking out. We have passed the 100,000 [nautical] mile mark. We are now 100,738 [nautical] miles [186,566 km] from Earth. This is Apollo Control, Houston.
023:55:12 Borman: Cryo fans, Off, and cycled, Houston. [Pause.]
023:55:24 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Go ahead. Over.
023:55:29 Borman: I said the cryo fans are Off, and completed the cycle.
023:55:35 Collins: Okay. Thank you, Frank.
Very long comm break.
Apollo Control, Houston here. 24 hours, 15 minutes into the flight and since we last talked to you, the only contact we've had from the crew is a brief confirmation from Frank Borman that the cryo fans had indeed been cycled, as discussed about an hour ago. We're 102,000 [nautical] miles [189,000 km] from the Earth and all is well. This is Apollo Control, Houston.
It is nearly six hours since Frank awoke feeling unwell. As he sits in the cabin while his crewmates sleep, he is slowly beginning to feel better.
024:24:18 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over.
024:24:22 Borman: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8.
024:24:24 Collins: Roger. Just a comm check, Frank. Do you read me alright?
024:24:28 Borman: Loud and clear.
024:24:30 Collins: Same here.
024:24:32 Borman: Thank you.
Very long comm break.
And this is Apollo Control, Houston. 24 hours, 37 minutes into the flight. We have had one establishing call since we last talked to you 20 minutes ago and it was nothing more than an establishing call. We're 103,800 [nautical] miles [192,200 km] from Earth at this point. And let's cycle through some of our consumables and other items this morning and we'll just look at them on our monitor and tell you what we see. The first chart we come to - and this is data, live data coming to us via Madrid - the biomedical harness is, well, a moment ago it was on Frank Borman but apparently it's been switched off now, We do know from this read-out that the cabin pressure is an even 5 pounds and the cabin temperature is 62° [Fahrenheit, 17°C]. Let's try another chart. We are looking at our radiation chart now. Let's first get the time of it. The current reading, and it looks to me very much like there's no observable change, it breaks out from yesterday. It does break out the proton, the various classes of protons, and also three classes of alpha radiation. And for each of those classes, gives an interpretive flux total. And all this comes down to the lower count is in the proton area, a dep dose of 0.11 rems, rems or, then that is further reduced or rated with the alpha readings, and we wind up with a dep dose of 0.03, a skin dose of 0.03. That's the entire cumulative total to this time, which is essentially negligible. Now we come to our Command Module/Service Module RCS summaries, and they follow the exact curve, the usage curve that we plot in our press kits and in our Flight Plan. Our Environment Control System tabulation, well let's see, again a confirmation of the cabin pressure, five pounds [34.5 kPa], and - we see a reading of 47 pounds per square inch [324 kPa] in the glycol pumping area. The Environmental Control System radiator temperature is 72.8 degrees [Fahrenheit, 22.7°C]. In all, this looks quite normal. And here's the biomedical comparative data, and this would be the Command Pilot just before the switch was switched off here only moments ago. Frank Borman's mean heart rate, 74, high of 77, a low of 71, and respiration is running about 15 per minute. That seems to cover the consumable priority for us. We'll later get a quantity reading on our remaining onboard propellant. That chart is not available to us right now. Our velocity now is down to 5,274 feet per second [1,608 m/s]. Now we have got a call from the spacecraft. Let's bring it up.
024:42:55 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8.
024:42:59 Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Go.
024:43:03 Borman: How've you been reading our tape dumps?
024:43:06 Collins: Stand by one, Frank. We noticed that you've got your PTC attitude peaked up a bit, and I'll check on your tape dump. [Long pause.]
024:43:41 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. The quality of the tape dumps has been very good. We have about 15 minutes to dump, which we will do the next time we get High Gain. Over.
024:43:52 Borman: How's the voice quality been?
024:43:56 Collins: It's been very good, Frank.
024:44:00 Borman: Okay. We'll send you something down here shortly.
Long comm break.
Jim and Bill are likely awake by now and find that Frank is feeling much better. Two accounts of the mission, Andy Chaikin's A Man On The Moon and Robert Zimmerman's Genesis: The Story of Apollo 8 tell how the crew discuss whether Frank should let Mission Control know about his illness. Bill suggests informing the ground of the problem but Frank is unhappy that the whole world get to know he had the 'flu, which he believes is a 24-hour virus. Eventually, Bill convinces his commander that a message could be left on the DSE voice track which would be dumped to the ground, allowing managers to listen to it away from the glare of the media. From the most recent communication, it appears that Frank is about to record his message.
024:47:15 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over.
024:47:18 Borman: Go ahead, Houston.
024:47:21 Collins: Frank, on this tape recorder, we have the tape motion stopped right now. If you would like to record some, we will give you the tape in motion so that you may do so. Is that what you would like? Over.
024:47:31 Borman: Roger. Houston, why don't you just give us salvo so we can control the switches here.
024:47:40 Collins: Okay. Stand by.
024:47:41 Borman: [Garble] PCM Low and Stop. [Long pause.]
024:47:53 Collins: You should have it now. Over.
024:47:59 Borman: Roger.
Long comm break.
It seems that around this time, a picture of the increasingly distant Earth is taken. This is based on measurements of Earth's image which suggest a distance of appropximately 187,000 km, but also comparison of the photograph with the Celestia simulator.
Earth, from a distance of appropximately 187,000 km
AS08-16-2601 - Earth, from a distance of appropximately 187,000 km (based on photo analysis). South is up so Antarctica is near the top. Africa is dominant with the brown tones of the Sahara Desert clearly seen.
024:53:52 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8.
024:53:59 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over.
024:54:02 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8. Over.
024:54:05 Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over.
024:54:09 Anders: Roger. Are you capable of taking a high-bit FM dump for voice on the Omnis?
024:54:19 Collins: That is negative, Bill. Not quite, on the Omnis.
024:54:26 Anders: Okay. We will catch you next time around then.
024:54:29 Collins: Roger. Thank you.
The spacecraft is rotating in the PTC mode and, just now, the HGA (High Gain Antenna) is on the wrong side to aim at Earth. S-band communications are via one of the omni-directional antennae and they do not have the performance to carry a high-bit-rate dump from the onboard recorder to Earth. Frank has recorded his message and Bill is anxious to send it to the ground, even to the point of seeing if there is a way for them to hear it before the High Gain Antenna comes around, which won't be for another 20 minutes.
024:54:32 Lovell: Good morning, Mike. How are things going down there?
024:54:35 Collins: Hi, Jim. Things are going real fine. How are you doing up there? Did you get a good night's sleep?
024:54:41 Lovell: Oh, you know. The first night in space all the time; it's a little slow.
024:54:46 Collins: The old man woke you up earlier than he needed to.
024:54:51 Lovell: Well, we just couldn't sleep any longer.
024:54:55 Collins: Roger. Understand. [Pause.]
024:55:07 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. The next time you are locked up on the High Gain, give us a call, and we will configure for a dump. Over.
024:55:16 Anders: Roger. We would like an evaluation of the voice comments. Over.
Frank hasn't quite yet recorded his message but already, Bill is trying to ensure that someone in Mission Control listen to the voice track immediately.
024:55:21 Collins: Roger. Understand. So far, it's been very good. We will evaluate this one as soon as we can. [Pause.]
024:55:44 Anders: How are the systems looking down there, Houston?
024:55:48 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Go ahead.
024:55:53 Anders: Roger. I've been in the sack. How do the systems look?
024:55:56 Collins: Everything is looking real good, Bill.
024:56:00 Anders: Okay. How much longer do you expect on charging battery A?
Frank began charging battery A four hours ago while Jim and Bill were asleep.
024:56:11 Collins: Stand by, Bill. We will get you an exact number on it.
024:56:16 Anders: Just a rough estimate. And also, have you seen any more hints on that sensor problem on fuel cell 2?
024:56:28 Collins: Stand by one. I'll get the latest scoop on it for you, Bill. [Long pause.]
024:56:56 Collins: Bill, there is nothing new on fuel cell number 2. We don't think there is anything at all wrong with the fuel cell. It's some sort of a sensor problem, but we don't have any new information on it.
This anomaly apparently was not much of a concern, and does not even rate a note in the Mission report.
024:57:06 Anders: Okay. They all look pretty good from here, Mike.
024:57:11 Collins: Roger. Thank you. [Pause.]
024:57:18 Collins: I've got some updates for you whenever you are ready to copy.
024:57:24 Anders: Stand by.
024:57:26 Collins: Okay.
024:57:31 Anders: What kind?
024:57:33 Collins: Well, I've got a TLI plus 35-hour update, and then I have an update to Jim's checklist. [Pause.]
024:57:49 Anders: Let's have the TLI plus 30 before we get the checklist update.
024:57:54 Lovell: They never give up on the checklist, do they?
Mission Control are scheduled to read up three abort PADs to the crew, according to the Flight Plan; the TLI plus 25-hour, TLI plus 35-hour and the flyby PADs. However, they only update a previous version of the flyby PAD and send a fresh TLI plus 35-hour PAD. A TLI plus 25-hour PAD was read up twelve hours ago.
024:57:57 Collins: Okay. This is when you get your maneuver PAD book out - the last maneuver PAD we gave you for the flyby PAD still remains valid. We would just like to remark that the entry angle, the Gamma, is slightly steeper than we consider ideal, but it's within our - sort of the noise level of our ability to predict at this time. So that flyby maneuver PAD remains valid. Over.
The flyby abort PAD would take Apollo 8 on a looping trajectory around the Moon and back to Earth. Mission Control can calculate forward to see what angle the spacecraft's flight path would make with Earth's horizontal as they enter the atmosphere, and currently that angle is a little too large. However, as is always the case with space trajectories, tiny errors early on have large effects and the RETRO flight controller, Jerry Bostick, knows that at this early stage, he cannot be sure of these long-time predictions.
024:58:28 Lovell: Roger, Houston.
024:58:30 Collins: Okay. Now on that page with the flyby maneuver, under your north set of stars, I have some new numbers for you because we've changed those stars from Navi and Polaris. As you recall, we changed to Sirius and Rigel, so - And that also, by the way, is the checklist update which I will give you later - but on that maneuver PAD, I have got three new angles for you using Sirius and Rigel when you are ready to copy those. [Long pause.]
Earlier, Jim had pointed out that he found the dimmer navigational stars difficult to see through the telescope. He needs a pair of stars that he can use as a backup attitude reference in case the guidance platform fails and Mission Control have come up with two of the brightest, Sirius (magnitude -1.46 and the brightest star in the sky) and Rigel (magnitude 0.11).
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 24 hours and 59 minutes into the mission. Within the last few minutes, we've heard from Jim Lovell and Bill Anders. Jim Lovell sounds the sleepiest of the group and over a 140,000 miles of intervening space. ...
024:59:56 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. How do you read? Over. [No answer.]
025:01:01 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over. [Long pause.]
025:01:21 Anders: Houston. Apollo 8. Over.
025:01:23 Collins: Roger, Apollo 8. Houston. You are loud and clear now. We had a lot of background noise there for a few minutes. How are you reading me?
025:01:31 Anders: Roger. I'm reading you okay, Mike, and I read you the last time you asked me that, so I guess maybe I wasn't getting through to you.
025:01:39 Collins: Okay. Well, did you copy on this flyby maneuver PAD? We've got three new angles. Are you ready to copy those?
025:01:47 Anders: I'm ready to copy the flyby angles.
025:01:49 Collins: Okay. Roll, 137; pitch, 310; yaw, 340. Over.
025:02:05 Anders: Roger. Roll, 137; pitch, 310; yaw, 340.
These angles represent the attitude the spacecraft will be in if Jim puts the telescope to a known angle, places Sirius on a particular reticle mark, then places Rigel on the reticle line coming up from that mark. In that attitude, Jim would be able to align his backup gyros accurately enough to carry out a burn.
025:02:11 Collins: That's affirmative, and I have the TLI plus 35-hour PAD when you are ready for it.
025:02:19 Anders: Roger. Ready for the TLI plus 35.
025:02:23 Collins: Roger. TLI plus 35 hours: SPS/G&N; 63023; minus 1.62, plus 1.29. Are you with me so far?
025:02:46 Anders: Loud and clear.
025:02:49 Collins: Good. 037:56:51.38; plus 0006.8, plus 0000.0, plus 4642.0; 178, 134, 001; not applicable, plus 0020.2; 4642.0, 5:47, 4621.1. Are you with me? Over.
025:04:01 Anders: Roger. Loud and clear.
025:04:03 Collins: Good. 12, 138.3, 32.7; 023, up 17.2, left 2.2; plus 12.93, minus 165.00; 1290.5, 36180, 074:11:16. Comments: on your stars, Sirius and Rigel; roll, 010; pitch, 294; yaw, 320; no ullage. Other: one, fast return P37, Delta-V equals 7821, for mid-Pacific landing for MTL; two, high speed procedures not required. Over.
The PAD is interpreted as follows: The next five parameters all relate to re-entry, during which an important milestone is "Entry Interface," defined as being 400,000 feet (121.92 km) altitude. In this context, a more important milestone is when atmospheric drag on the spacecraft imparts a deceleration of 0.05 g. There are a couple of additional notes at the end of the PAD. The SPS propellant tanks are full, so there would be no need to perform an ullage burn to settle their contents. If the crew need to get to Earth faster for any reason, they can hurry things up by using a velocity of 5,424.1 feet/second, 782.1 feet per second faster than the normal return which will bring them to a landing in the mid-Pacific Ocean.
025:05:58 Anders: Roger. Are you ready for the readback?
025:06:01 Collins: All set.
025:06:04 Anders: TLI plus 35, SPS/G&N; 63023; minus 1.62, plus 1.29; 037:56:51.38; plus 0006.8, plus 0000.0, plus 4642.0; 178, 134, 000; N/A. Are you with me?
025:06:35 Collins: Yes, I'm with you, Bill. That last one should be 001.
025:06:42 Anders: Roger. Y, 001; N/A, plus 0020.2; 4642.0, 5:47, 4621.1; 12, 138.3, 32.7; 023, up 17.2, left 2.2; plus 12.93, minus 165.00; plus 1290.5, plus 36180, 074:11:16. Sirius, Rigel; 010, 294, 320; no ullage, fast return P37, 7821 mid-PAC; high speed not required. Over.
025:07:44 Collins: That's about the size of it. You're getting pretty good at this thing, Bill, for a rookie.
025:07:51 Anders: Not bad. I just learned to read about a year ago.
025:07:55 Collins: Roger. Hey, I've got a Flight Plan update for Jim. It's on page G, George, 82 Able of his checklist. Over.
Collins has already alluded to this change only ten minutes ago. It is simply to swap the stars used for backup attitude alignment.
025:08:06 Lovell: Roger. I've got it open. Go ahead, Mike.
025:08:08 Collins: Okay. It's simply changing these north set of stars around. For Navi substitute Sirius, which is number 15, and for Rigel - correction - for Polaris substitute Rigel, number 12.
025:08:31 Lovell: Roger. Substitute Rigel for Polaris and Sirius for Navi. How about shaft and trunnion; remain the same?
025:08:38 Collins: Your shaft and trunnion [angle]s remain the same. Sirius remains on the 50° line just like Navi used to be. Rigel is down 1.3° from your horizontal, from your M-line. Over.
025:08:56 Lovell: Roger. Understand.
Page G-82A of the CMP checklist includes diagrams to show how the scanning telescope would be used for backup gyro alignment. Page G-83 has the relevant instructions. The basic idea is something like this. As well as the gyro stabilised platform within the IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), the spacecraft has two other sets of gyros, the BMAGs (Body Mounted Attitude Gyros) which are part of the GDCs (Gyro Display Couplers). Unlike the IMU which measures absolute attitude, the GDCs really measure changes in attitude. This they do from a known starting point, usually by aligning to the IMU. If the IMU has failed, the spacecraft will have lost its primary method of knowing which way it is pointing, information that is crucial, particularly during engine burns. Therefore there is a backup procedure that allows the GDCs to be aligned by direct comparison with the stars.
To achieve this, the CMP would set the shaft and trunnion angles of the spacecraft optics to 180° and 7.5° respectively, aiming the scanning telescope in a known direction with respect to the spacecraft. This instrument has a very wide field of view and is designed to allow the patterns of the constellations to be recognised. While looking through its eyepiece, the CMP rotates the spacecraft to align two stars in a certain way in the telescope's reticle.
Diagram showing arrangement of stars through telescope reticle during backup GDC alignment.
This diagram shows what the CMP would look for when carrying out this alignment. By firing the spacecraft's thrusters, Sirius and Rigel would be made to lie along the vertical line in the reticle, with Sirius lined up on the 50° graduation. Collins also pointed out that Rigel would appear to be 1.3° below the reticle's horizontal line. Having dialled in previously calculated attitude angles that describe the spacecraft's attitude in this configuration, the CMP would press the GDC Align button. These angles are: roll, 137; pitch, 310; yaw, 340.
025:08:59 Collins: Okay. And let me know when it gets to be breakfast time. I've got a newspaper to read up to you and a few other things.
025:09:06 Anders: We're ready.
025:09:11 Collins: Okay. I've got a [Paul] Haney special here for you. The Interstellar Times latest edition says the flight to the Moon is occupying prime space on both paper and television; It's THE news story. The headlines of the Post says "Moon, here they come." We understand that Bill Anders will be in private conversation or communication today with an old man who wears a red suit and lives at the North Pole. A suspect in the Miami kidnapping was captured late yesterday, and the 11 GI's that have been detained 5 months in Cambodia were released yesterday and will make it home in time for Christmas.
025:09:57 Anders: Roger. With reference to the first, we saw him earlier this morning, and he was heading your way.
The character of Santa Claus figures a lot in Apollo 8 by virtue of its Christmas timeframe.
This digest of news was compiled for the CapComs by the people in the Public Affairs Office, headed by Paul Haney in Houston.
025:10:03 Collins: Roger. We'll pass the word along. David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon were married yesterday in New York. He was described as "nervous".
025:10:15 Anders: Right.
David Eisenhower is the grandson of the former US President Dwight David Eisenhower. Julie Nixon is the daughter of President-elect Richard M. Nixon.
025:10:18 Collins: The Browns took Dallas apart yesterday 31 to 20. We're sort of curious, who do you like today, Baltimore or Minnesota? Over.
025:10:29 Lovell: Baltimore.
025:10:31 Collins: How many points are you giving?
025:10:34 Anders: [Laughter] He's not making many points at home with that comment.
025:10:40 Collins: Roger. Understand. Oh, I've got another score for you when you are ready to copy. Are you ready to copy?
025:10:51 Anders: Stand by. [Pause.] Go ahead.
025:11:06 Collins: Roger. Navy 14, Army 21. Would you like for me to repeat that? Over.
025:11:14 Anders: You are very garbled; Houston; I'm unable to read. Will call you back in another year.
Mike Collins is an Air Force pilot, having come through West Point. Jim, on the other hand, is very much a Naval aviator, holding the rank of Captain and though Bill is a Major in the Air Force, he graduated from Naval Academy. Mike is indulging in gentle inter-forces rivalry.
025:11:21 Collins: Okay. We also notice the University of Houston lost their first home basketball game in 3½ years last night. Illinois edged them out 97 to 84. And some really big news: the State Department announced only a few minutes ago that the Pueblo crew will be released at 9 pm tonight.
The USS Pueblo was an electronic intelligence gathering ship of the US Navy. On January 23, 1968, while on a mission off the coast of North Korea, it was attacked by the North Korean Navy and Air Force, and was eventually captured. Commander Pete Bucher and 82 of his crew were taken into captivity, where they were beaten and interrogated. After 11 months, the United States negotiated their release, and on December 23, the crew was repatriated.
025:11:48 Lovell: Sounds good. Outboard calculations indicate that Apollo 8, at 25 hours, is 104,000 [nautical] miles from home.
025:12:00 Collins: Yes. Our plot board shows a similar number.
025:12:07 Borman: Mighty nice view from here.
025:12:12 Collins: We're showing about 104,800 [nautical] miles [194,100 km], and we're guessing another 8 to 10 hours on your battery charge.
025:12:23 Anders: Okay. [Long pause.]
025:12:35 Collins: Frank, say again about the view. You were blocked, I think.
025:12:41 Borman: This is a mighty nice view we have down there today. A little bit more than a half-Earth. Looks like Africa and the Red Sea is visible; we're not quite sure as there is quite a bit of cloud cover; but even through the hazy windows, it's mighty nice.
025:12:58 Collins: How are your windows? Do you have a couple left that are real clear?
025:13:02 Borman: The rendezvous windows are good. The others are all about the same as they were when we last reported. One and five have a slight haze and a little fog on the inside.
025:13:16 Collins: Roger. Understand.
Long comm break.
The three largest windows in the spacecraft are fogging up between the inner and outer panes, an anomaly seen during Apollo 7 and not fixed for Apollo 8's spacecraft, 103; a decision reflecting the need to get Apollo 8 and the rest of the program moving ahead.
And at 25 hours, 16 minutes into the flight - oops, here goes some more. We'll cut back.
025:16:55 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over.
025:16:59 Lovell: [garbled]
025:17:01 Collins: Roger. Just as a matter of curiosity for Bill, we can say a few words about the heaters for the cryo tanks, and also for the fans. We've noticed that the heaters are doing their thing normally, cycling on and off; and as time goes by, this cycle rate increases, indicating a little bit of stratification in the tanks. And then when we've been turning the fans on every 4 hours for a couple of minutes, this stirs things up and the heaters then cycling on and off again more slowly for a while, until again a little bit of stratification occurs, and the cycling becomes slightly more rapid. This is, of course, normal; we just point it out as a curiosity to you. Over.
The Service Module has four cryogenic tanks, two for oxygen and two for hydrogen. Their extremely cold, highly compressed contents are often described as being like a dense fog rather than a liquid. As they are depleted, their internal pressure and temperature falls and must be raised again. To this end, heaters are installed which supply energy to raise the temperature and pressure so that downstream equipment such as pressure regulators can function properly. These heaters usually switch on and off automatically, driven by pressure switches.
In the weightless conditions of Apollo 8's flight, the gases in the cryogenic tanks have a tendency to separate out into layers of differing density with the most dense against the tank wall. Apparently, this stratification is having a minor effect on the operation of the heaters and their control system. It certainly affects the sensor within the tank that measures quantity and this is the major reason fans have been installed in the tanks. The sensor consists of a tube-within-a-tube pair of electrodes. An electrical characteristic between them (a property called capacitance) is highly dependant on the quantity of material in the way. These sensors are calibrated for homogenised contents and stratification leads to erroneous readings. Stirring the tanks with the fans spreads out the density within the tanks and restores the accuracy of the readings.
025:17:45 Anders: Roger. I haven't really been following it that close. One thing I have noticed is when you turn the fans on you get a glitch in the quantity, which might correspond to a glitch in AC. Maybe the next time we'll look at the AC volts and see what happens.
025:18:14 Collins: Our experts say that's not the reason for the glitch. They say the stratification fakes out the capacitance sensor there for a second.
025:18:25 Anders: I knew they would have some big deal answer for me.
025:18:31 Collins: [Garbled] got you today.
025:18:32 Anders: I'll buy that.
025:18:36 Lovell: Roger.
025:18:36 Collins: Any other information you want us to send up to you?
025:18:43 Anders: No, we're going to zap you with the High Gain here shortly.
025:18:46 Collins: Okay. [Long pause.]
And at 25 hours, 18 minutes into the flight, that apparently wraps up a very communicative period for this early Sunday morning. In the meanwhile the Control Center, humorists are busy, of course, trying to come up with music appropriate under the occasion. One title suggested is "Shine On Harvest Earth". I don't know how far that will get. At 25 hours, 19 minutes into the flight, this is Apollo Control.
025:19:36 Anders: Houston, this is Apollo 8. How do you read on the High Gain?
025:19:39 Collins: Reading you loud and clear, Bill. How me?
025:19:44 Anders: I'm reading you loud and clear. I'll go ahead and dump this. You might want to listen to it in real time to evaluate the voice.
Bill's request for Mission Control to check the voice quality on the DSE recording is a prompt for someone in the Mission Control Center to listen to the tape. Frank has described his condition on its voice track and since they are about to replay the contents of the tape to Earth, Bill is trying to gently nudge flight controllers to listen to this voice track immediately rather than leaving it until later. He wants to do this without attracting the media's attention to the problem. Note that a transcript of Frank's comments are not included with the other DSE recording transcripts.
025:19:54 Collins: Okay. We'll do that as soon as we can.
025:19:57 Anders: Give me a call when you are ready.
025:20:08 Collins: Do you want to dump it by your command, or would you like us to command the dump on it? Over.
025:20:15 Anders: Oh, you can go ahead and command whenever you are ready.
025:20:18 Collins: Okay. We are starting now; thank you.
025:20:19 Anders: I've already rewound.
025:20:20 Collins: Roger.
025:20:21 Anders: Roger. I've already rewound. [Long pause.]
025:21:02 Anders: There is only about 5 minutes worth on the tape, Houston.
025:21:07 Collins: Roger. Understand, Bill. You promised me you would wait 3 days before you started doing this, Bill.
Collins is perhaps referring to the fact that voice downloads from the DSE recorder would not have been expected until they began passing behind the Moon regularly, in three days time.
025:21:31 Anders: It has been a long trip.
Long comm break.
025:26:48 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston.
025:26:52 Anders: Go ahead, Houston.
025:26:53 Collins: Roger, Bill. We've got your dump, and the voice quality is very good. We are going to take about 20 minutes or so to get it back to Houston to play it.
025:27:11 Anders: Roger. Where are you taking it through, Houston?
025:27:15 Collins: It comes through Madrid and then Ascension, Bill.
025:27:21 Anders: Okay.
Very long comm break.
From this, it appears that the DSE data and voice have been recorded at the tracking station in Madrid and will be sent to Houston via satellite and land line. Collins also implies that someone in Madrid has listened to the voice so the crew will presume Mission Control will be informed that the voice track is of special interest.
And this is Apollo Control Houston at 25 hours, 41 minutes into the flight. Our velocity is down to 5,162 feet per second [1,573 m/s]. We are 106,270 [nautical] miles [196,812 km] from home...
While the contents of the DSE tape are being dumped to Earth, the transmitter at the Madrid tracking station fails and the link with the spacecraft is lost. The HGA needs to receive a signal from Earth because it uses it in two ways to maintain its own downlink signal. First, the frequency of the downlink is mathematically derived from the uplink signal by multiplying the uplink frequency by 240/221. If the uplink isn't there, then the downlink frequency will drift. Second, the servo system in the HGA that keeps it pointed at Earth uses the uplink signal as its guide. The HGA will fail to maintain its aim if the uplink is lost.
Unfortunately, switching to another antenna at Madrid presents other problems. By timing the round trip of the radio signal, very accurate tracking data is derived and this is the primary navigation tool for Apollo. However part of this process includes having an understanding of how the siting of the station and its electronic characteristics affects these timings. This is known as the station bias. (The siting is important because of the turning of Earth and the resultant effects on the distance and velocity measurements) The replacement antenna has an unknown station bias and it has not undergone the required three hours of tracking to establish it. This event leads to changes in the future whereby there will be a standby antenna with a known station bias at all three tracking sites during certain periods.
025:40:56 Collins: Apollo 8. Houston. [No answer.]
025:41:13 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over. [No answer.]
025:41:30 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over. [No answer.]
Comm break.
025:42:41 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over. [No answer.]
025:42:55 Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over. [No answer.]
025:43:27 Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over.
025:43:30 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8. How do you read?
025:43:32 Collins: Roger, Bill. We are reading you loud and clear now. We had an antenna problem down here. We had an unexpected switch of antenna, which probably caused your High Gain to quit.
025:43:47 Anders: Roger.
Comm break.
The loss of the link to Earth has interrupted the progress of the tape dump.
025:45:02 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over. [Long pause.]
025:45:16 Lovell: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8.
025:45:18 Collins: Roger, Jim. When we lost our antenna down here, we interrupted your tape dump, so we are in the process of doing some rewinding and continuing the dump, in case Bill is wondering what is going on with the tape recorder.
025:45:33 Lovell: Okay. No strain.
Very long comm break.
025:56:53 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over.
025:56:56 Anders: Go ahead, Houston.
025:56:58 Collins: Roger. At 26 hours GET, we'll be switching our antennas back again at Madrid, and you can expect a glitch on your comm system.
025:57:12 Anders: Roger. [Pause.]
025:57:17 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8.
025:57:18 Collins: Go ahead, Jim.
025:57:21 Lovell: I noticed that you skipped the IMU alignment for about 26 hours because we were still asleep. Do you want to include that again, or do you think it is required?
025:57:33 Collins: Roger, Jim. We think it is going to be required prior to the next set of P23 sightings, and we're suggesting that it be put in at 27:45. We'll have a Flight Plan - a more complete Flight Plan update in here shortly.
025:57:51 Lovell: Okay. Fine. We're in the process of having breakfast.
Their one-hour meal period is due to end shortly. Subsequent activities were cancelled three hours ago so there is no pressure to keep to the timeline at this point.
025:57:57 Collins: Roger. Understand.
Long comm break.
026:04:06 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston.
026:04:11 Lovell: Go ahead, Houston.
026:04:12 Collins: The tape dumps are complete; it's rewound. You can go ahead and record in low bit rate if you [garble].
026:04:20 Lovell: Roger. Will do.
Very long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. 26 hours, 27 minutes into the flight. We are 108,400 [nautical] miles [200,756 km] out. The velocity now is 5,080 feet per second [1,548 m/s]. We have had no conversation with the crew the past 20 minute period. We do have this advisory however, on the trajectory of the S-IVB. At this particular point in the mission, 26½ hours, the S-IVB is placed, by our best estimates, at a point 800 miles - it is moving on a track - 800 miles [1,500 km] outboard of the spacecraft and 1,200 miles [2,200 km] behind the spacecraft. I'll say again, it is 800 miles outboard of the spacecraft and 1,200 miles behind, diagonally behind the spacecraft. Both are nautical references. The point of closest approach of the S-IVB and Apollo 8 will be, according to our trajectory experts, at a point of when the spacecraft rounds the Moon for the first time. The S-IVB will go by - they will pass each other and there will be approximately 1,800 nautical miles [3,300 km] between the two of them at a point just as the spacecraft is acquired by the Earth, after its first around, and as it's completing its first trip around the Moon. The path of the S-IVB will be outboard of the Moon and it will move on into its solar orbit. The distance again; the point of closest approach is as the two move about the Moon, the S-IVB moving off on the Sun side of the Moon, the spacecraft making its first pass around. They will come within 1,800 nautical miles of each other. And that would occur at roughly, about 73 hours into the flight. That is based on a LOI [Lunar Orbit Insertion] of about 72 hours. At 26 hours, 29 minutes into the flight; this is Apollo Control, Houston.
What the PAO announcer is trying to say about their closest approach is best summarised by a diagram.
Diagram of actual trajectories of spacecraft and S-IVB stage at closest approach.
This diagram is derived from one in the AS-503 Flight Evaluation Report and shows the trajectories of the two vehicles as determined after the flight. It illustrates how the S-IVB, flying slower than the spacecraft, misses the Moon and flies past its trailing edge. Having reached the Moon first, Apollo 8 passes its leading edge before entering lunar orbit. When it comes around after the orbit insertion burn, it passes the S-IVB at a miss distance of 1,780 km, each travelling in opposite directions. The S-IVB's trajectory is actually a gravitational slingshot that swings it into solar orbit in the same way that the Voyager probes used the gravity of the outer planets to give them the energy to reach their next target.
026:41:22 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston.
026:41:27 Anders: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8 here.
026:41:28 Collins: Disregard. We were going to talk about the High Gain, but you beat us to it.
026:41:35 Anders: Okay.
Comm break.
026:42:27 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston.
026:42:50 Lovell: Go ahead, Houston.
026:42:52 Collins: Roger, Jim. We would like to take control of the tape for a few minutes to make sure that we got all that last dump. Over.
026:43:00 Lovell: Okay. Stand by one.
026:43:02 Collins: Roger.
026:43:03 Lovell: You've got it.
026:43:04 Collins: Thank you, sir.
Comm break.
026:44:14 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8.
026:44:16 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Go ahead.
026:44:22 Anders: Roger. I just noticed that I can hear those RTC's [Real Time Commands] coming through on normal voice.
In other words, whatever part of the radio system is carrying Mission Control's commands for the tape recorder, it is allowing some of those command signals to leak through to the voice channel the crew are listening to. The Apollo spacecraft was at the leading edge of digital technologies and much of its systems were analogue in nature. With so many systems packed into such a small space, crosstalk is almost inevitable.
026:44:44 Collins: What does it sound like, Bill?
026:44:48 Anders: A little squeak.
Comm break.
026:46:34 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over.
026:46:39 Anders: Go ahead.
026:46:41 Collins: Roger. I have a Flight Plan update for you sometime at your convenience.
026:46:47 Anders: Alright.
Comm break.
026:47:50 Anders: Ready to copy.
026:47:53 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Were you calling? Over.
026:47:56 Anders: Roger. Ready to copy.
026:47:58 Collins: Okay, Bill. This will be on page 2-22 of your Flight Plan. For the Command Module Pilot - I've already mentioned it to him - but at the top of the page, at about 27:45, actually, we would like him to do a P52, an IMU alignment, and then the P23 should be done as scheduled. Those four stars, Procyon, Regulus, Alphard, and Spica: we realize Alphard may not be too good a star, Regulus is about 3° above the horizon, and Spica is at a 48° trunnion angle; so I guess what we are saying is if Jim has difficulty doing one set on each of those four stars, we suggest that he omit whichever one he is having difficulty with and pick it up by doing two sets on some other star that he likes. Over.
To recap the P23 procedure, Jim uses the twin line-of-sight of the sextant to superimpose a star with Earth's horizon. The star is viewed with the movable line-of-sight and the observation yields a trunnion angle, which is the measured angle between the star and horizon. Jim has already reported that if there is too much light spill from the Sun, Moon or Earth, the visibility of fainter stars is compromised, and Alphard is a magnitude or two dimmer than the others. Also, since the angle between Regulus and Earth is very small, it may be washed out by Earth's brilliance. We speculate that large trunnion angles might reduce the light transmission ability of the sextant and that is why Collins is warning that Jim might have problems with Spica.
026:49:09 Anders: Roger. Understand.
026:49:10 Collins: Alright. In the lower right hand corner of page 2-22, the Passive Thermal Control attitude should read "pitch, 224°; yaw, 020°."
026:49:29 Anders: Roger. Copy.
026:49:31 Collins: And on the next page, at about 29 hours, you can resume the normal Flight Plan. We would like to make one addition; at 29:30, add a waste water dump. Even though one is not really required at that time, we would like to get the dump out of the way so we can track you uninterruptedly without any dumping, you know, as we are coming up on midcourse correction number 3. Over.
Dumping water or any other material from the spacecraft exerts a tiny but measurable thrust on the spacecraft. Prior to midcourse correction 3, which is planned for 47 hours GET, Mission Control want to gather as much tracking data as they can and for it to be valid, it should take into account any changes in their flight path caused by water dumps.
026:50:03 Anders: Roger.
026:50:06 Collins: That's about all, Bill. You got any questions on this?
026:50:11 Anders: No. It looks pretty good. We've been saving up some water of our own to dump here, so that will work out all right.
026:50:18 Collins: Very good. And don't ruin Jim's optics.
026:50:24 Anders: Right. [Long pause.]
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 26 hours, 51 minutes into the flight. We are - I'll have to estimate, based on the wall map, 112,000 [nautical] miles [207,400 km] out. ...
026:50:48 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston.
026:50:51 Anders: Go.
026:50:52 Collins: Roger. We would like P00 and Accept, please. We would like to send you up a P27. It's a LM state vector, going into the LM slot only, and we do not want you to transfer it over to the CSM [Pause.]
P27 is a program that allows Mission Control to update information within the computer's memory. Unlike most other programs in the computer, P27 is not directly selected by the crew. Rather, it is run by the combination of the computer being put in standby mode (using program zero) and the Uptelmetry switch being placed in the Accept position.
There are two slots in memory set aside to hold state vectors, one for the CM and one for the LM. In the case where there is no LM (as with the whole of Apollo 8 and the CSM-only part of all subsequent missions), the second slot can be used as a repository for a spare copy of the state vector or for a version that has been generated by the Command Module Pilot and his star/planet sightings.
026:51:24 Collins: Apollo 8. Houston. Did you copy?
026:51:28 Anders: Roger. You got it. [Pause.]
026:51:34 Collins: Okay. We got it. We're sending you a LM state vector, and we would like you not to transfer that vector over to the CSM slot.
026:51:40 Anders: Roger.
026:51:42 Collins: Thank you.
Long comm break.
026:55:36 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston.
026:55:40 Anders: Apollo 8. Roger. Are you still planning an MCC-2 at 28 hours? Over.
026:55:48 Collins: Stand by one, Bill. [Pause.] Bill, negative. Now that midcourse correction number 2 has been cancelled. It's magnitude was less than 1 foot per second, so we decided not to do it. Over.
026:56:12 Anders: Okay. Thank you.
026:56:14 Collins: And you've got the computer again, if you go to Block.
026:56:22 Anders: Okay.
Comm break.
This is Apollo Control again, 109,9 - let's make it 110,000 even - [nautical] miles [203,700 km] out. Our velocity; 5,028 feet per second [1,533 m/s]. Our spacecraft weight now is down to 63,000 pounds, 63,023 pounds [28,587 kilograms]. I think in the course of that conversation, you heard that we see no further need for any more midcourse corrections between now and their journey to the Moon. At 26 hours, 57 minutes; that is our status.
026:58:29 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8.
026:58:32 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Go ahead.
026:58:36 Anders: Are you still computing the pericynthion time of 69:10?
026:58:45 Collins: Stand by. We will get an update for you.
026:58:48 Anders: Okay. [Long pause.]
026:59:40 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Your 69:10 pericynthion is still good plus or minus a minute, and we will get it down to a fine map measurement [garble].
Very long comm break.]
Both Jim in the spacecraft and FIDO (Flight Dynamics Officer) in Houston have been projecting Apollo 8's trajectory forward to the time when they will be closest to the Moon, a point known as pericynthion. This is calculated to occur around 069:10 GET.
027:26:08 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston.
027:26:15 Anders: Roger. This is Apollo 8.
027:26:17 Collins: Okay, Bill. We just got your read-out on your voice tape, and we will be back with you on it shortly. Over.
027:26:27 Anders: Okay.
It is over two hours since the crew replayed Frank's message about his bout of nausea to Earth. Mike Collins is informing the crew that the message has been listened to and will be acted upon.
027:26:28 Lovell: Houston, I'm going to be doing my alignment at this time. I'm in a good position for viewing the stars.
027:26:39 Collins: Roger, Apollo 8.
Very long comm break.
Jim is going ahead with this P52 realignment fifteen or so minutes early. This is the fifth realignment of the guidance platform. To achieve it, Jim sights on the stars Menkar (Alpha Ceti, star 7 in the Apollo list) and Rigel in Orion (star 12) and finds that since the last realignment nearly eleven hours ago, two of the platform's gimbals had drifted by about a quarter of a degree or more. However, the rate of drift is quite stable overall. Jim's sighting accuracy is up to his usual standards at about a hundredth of a degree. Mission Control can monitor Jim's progress because they can see a copy of the computer's DSKY (Display and Keyboard) on their console monitors.
This is Apollo Control, Houston at 27 hours, 45 minutes. We are 112,000 [nautical] miles [207,400 km] out. Our velocity is [about] 4,900 feet per second [1,500 m/s], and [some minutes ago, we heard] a very brief conversation on a star update to the crew.
At 28 hours into the flight, the Flight Plan shows a flurry of activity. In Frank's column, there is a note to transfer the CSM's state vector to the slot in memory reserved for the LM's state vector. However, Mission Control have asked that he not do this. Prior to Jim commencing his navigation exercise, Frank manoeuvres the spacecraft to an attitude suitable for viewing the necessary stars.
Before Jim commences his navigation work he completes a system check of the Service Module's RCS (Reaction Control System) as detailed on page S-1 (within the Systems section) of his checklist. He then measures the bias in the sextant's trunnion axis. He does this by superimposing the image of a star as seen in the movable line-of-sight with that of the same star in the fixed line-of-sight. This yields a true zero position which the computer can use to ensure the accuracy of subsequent sightings.
Bill, meanwhile, is scheduled to complete a system check of the Service Module's SPS engine, also detailed on page S-1 on his checklist. He is also to begin a charge of the Command Module's batteries and to place the Biomedical switch to the right position, allowing the Surgeon in Mission Control to monitor his heartbeat and respiration.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. 28 hours, 8 minutes into the flight. It has been quiet during this most recent period, we have not heard from the crew. Our present distance, 113,000 nautical miles [209,300 km] from Earth; our velocity, 4,909 feet per second [1,496 m/s]. This is Apollo Control, Houston.
028:18:13 Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston with voice check. Over.
028:18:19 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8. Read you loud and clear now. How us?
028:18:22 Collins: Oh, good. Reading you loud and clear. One, two, three, four, five, five, four, three, two, one. Am I cutting in and out still? Over.
028:18:31 Lovell: Nope. All the numbers are coming up nicely.
028:18:34 Collins: Okay. Thank you, Jim. [Long pause.]
028:19:27 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. We are going to switch antennas at 28:20. Stand by for our blitz.
028:19:36 Borman: Roger, Houston. And we will start Passive Thermal Control, and we are maneuvering to P23.
028:19:42 Collins: Roger. Understand; maneuvering to P23; I understand.
Long comm break.
Note that Frank cannot begin the PTC manoeuvre until Jim has finished the P23 exercise.
028:23:31 Anders: Houston. Apollo 8.
028:23:34 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Go.
028:23:38 Anders: Roger. You copy high bit rate now for this P23?
028:23:43 Collins: Negative, Bill. We are getting low bit rate now.
028:23:48 Anders: If you go high bit rate, we will not bother recording it.
028:23:52 Collins: Roger. We just went to high bit rate.
Very long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. 28 hours, 29 minutes into the flight. I want to clear up a velocity reading. Apparently I gave a reading earlier which either was in error, or I read it wrong. Our present feet per second is 4,875 [1,486 m/s]. I say again 4, 8, 7, 5; and our altitude is 114,000 nautical miles [211,000 km]. Within the last hour in a private conversation we have learned that there is some -- a little nausea aboard. Frank Borman reported an upset stomach, but Chuck Berry tells me it is getting better. That is all we know about it right now. ...
Frank's message concerning his nausea has got through and has been released. Dr. Charles (Chuck) Berry is not one of the flight surgeons occupying a console in the MOCR. Rather, he heads the medical team for NASA in Houston and was well known to the press and broadcasting media. At the best of times there is a cool relationship between pilots (which the astronauts are) and doctors. In his autobiography "Countdown" written 20 years after the flight, Frank is particularly scathing about Chuck Berry, displaying further the difficult relationship between the two camps.
This is Apollo Control again. I say again on the nausea, Frank Borman reported an upset stomach. He has taken some medication, and he is apparently feeling better, He so reported to Dr. Berry. Bill Anders reported that he was not feeling his best. We don't know whether it is some sort of virus or just what, but I am sure that Chuck Berry will have more for us at the Change of Shift Briefing today. I say again the situation was reported to us within the last hour in a private voice tape down, that Frank Borman was reporting some stomach upset and not feeling particularly well. From strictly a layman's point of view, it sounded like the symptoms of the Asian Flu, but I am not going to attempt to diagnose it. At the same time Bill Anders was reported not feeling not completely himself either, but no overt signs of a cold or flu. Jim Lovell on the other hand [is feeling fine.] [Missing transcript] within -- since the original communication an hour ago, the crew has reported that they are generally feeling better. At 28 hours, 32 minutes into the flight; this is Apollo Control, Houston.
At the time (1968), there was little thought given to "Space Adaptation Syndrome", the name given to the malady that affects a third of all astronauts for the first day or so in weightlessness. The prevailing thought was that it was a 'cold' or 'virus' or other such malady that affected Frank Borman. Certainly, a preliminary diagnosis of the Asian Flu, or more properly known as the Hong Kong strain of influenza was a reasonable first assumption. In the winter of 1968, the Hong Kong Flu - a particularly nasty bug - had swept throughout the United States. This author (O'Brien, then 12 years old) has two indelible memories of December 24, 1968:
- The family gathered around a Heathkit COLOR (Wow! Color!) television, listening to the readings of Genesis from the Moon.
- How horribly sick both my parents were with the Hong Kong Flu, and how much they appreciated a houseful of kids and toddlers helping them with Christmas dinner. God love them both.
Any space adaptation syndrome felt by the Apollo 7 crew was masked by head colds contracted by that crew. Later experience showed that some people require a day or so to adapt to extended periods of weightlessness. Frank's experience is the first time NASA has had to deal with this condition, having misunderstood similar symptoms reported by Soviet cosmonauts.
Meanwhile, Jim is making headway with his third batch of P23 navigation sightings using the stars Procyon (Alpha Canis Minoris), Regulus (Alpha Leonis) and Alphard (Alpha Hydrae). For reasons of time, he does not use the fourth star mentioned in the Flight Plan, Spica. Postflight analysis shows that he is measuring the angles between these stars and Earth to an accuracy of between 0.001° and 0.005°.
This is Apollo Control, Houston; at 28 hours, 55 minutes into the flight. Apparently our earlier report regarding velocity is still causing a great deal of consternation in the Press realm, so we will go through it one more time. Through error on our part or on the part of a chart, we apparently reported a discrepancy in the velocity. We want to correct that error. The present velocity we read on our Space Digital Chart is 4,833.3 feet per second [1,473.2 m/s], and it is getting smaller as is proper. It will continue to get smaller until the spacecraft reaches the lunar sphere of influence which is about 60,000 miles from now. At that point the spacecraft will slow down to approximately 3,900 feet per second [1,190 m/s]; these are Earth-related feet per second, at which time it will begin to speed up slightly as it makes its final approach to the Moon. So, once more, our present velocity, in terms of feet per second, 4,800 since we talked to you just a second ago. It is now down to 4,832 feet per second [1,472.8 m/s] even, 4,832. Our distance; 115,629 nautical miles [214,144 km] from Earth. We have had no additional conversation with the crew since our last report. This is Apollo Control, Houston at 28 hours, 57 minutes.
Around now, the lithium hydroxide canister in receptacle A is due to be replaced with canister 5. The replacement canister is stored in compartment A3, one of four compartments that lie against the spacecraft's base below the Lower Equipment Bay.
029:03:39 Lovell: Houston, Apollo 8.
029:03:44 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over. [No answer.]
029:03:51 Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over.
029:03:55 Lovell: Roger. Cislunar Nav accomplished. We did two sets on star 16 [Procyon], two sets on 22 [Regulus], and one set on 21 [Alphard].
029:04:07 Collins: Roger. Understand P23 completed, two sets on 16, two on 22, and one on 21.
029:04:15 Lovell: Roger. It was getting a little late, so we didn't want to start on 26 [Spica].
029:04:19 Collins: Roger. Understand, Jim.
Comm break.
It is useful that Jim was able to get marks on Alphard as this is one of the dimmer stars in the Apollo star list. After the flight, analysis of all Jim's sightings showed that the magnitude of the star had a slight bearing on the accuracy of the exercise. Jim tended to make slightly more accurate measurements with brighter stars.
029:07:18 Anders: Houston, Apollo 8.
029:07:22 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Go ahead.
029:07:26 Anders: Is our previous PTC attitude okay for the next session?
029:07:32 Collins: Roger, Bill. The one that we updated an hour or so ago, [i.e., pitch, 224; yaw, 020] is a good one.
029:07:43 Anders: 224, 20. Roger.
029:07:46 Collins: Roger. [Pause.]
029:07:52 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. We will change antennas in about 2 minutes. You can expect a glitch in comm.
The switching of antennas from one side of the world to the other causes a momentary loss of contact with the spacecraft. This is normal and entirely expected (at least, from a communications technician's perspective) and is just a warning to the crew so they will know what to expect. Later missions, benefiting from the experience of Apollo 8, will not have to be so carefully alerted about the switching of antennas in the Manned Space Flight Network (now known as the Deep Space Network.)
029:08:02 Anders: Roger.
029:08:03 Collins: Roger.
029:08:04 Anders: How are all of the systems looking down there, Houston? [Pause.]
029:08:19 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. You are looking good here in all respects.
029:08:24 Anders: Okay.
Long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. 29 hours, 18 minutes into the flight. Our velocity; 4,790 feet per second [1,460 m/s]. Our distance; 116,658 nautical miles [216,050 km]. ...
029:17:52 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over. [No answer.]
029:18:01 Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over. [No answer.]
029:18:14 Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over. [No answer.]
Long comm break.
Flight Director Cliff Charlesworth, Mike Collins and Flight Surgeon Chuck Berry have gathered with other managers in a second MOCR away from that being used by Apollo 8 for this mission. Berry is having a private consultation with the crew. The PAO announcer will replay a tape of this conversation to the press in about 40 minutes time. We speculate that technicians at Houston have replugged the feed from this MOCR to the main air/ground circuit while disconnecting it from the air/ground loop going around the main MOCR.
This is Apollo Control. We are looking presently at the biomed read-out on Bill Anders, and it looks like this - a mean heartrate of, around, between 68 and 69. The highest the system has seen, in this sample period of roughly an hour, is about 88; the lowest its seen is 51. His mean respiration rate is 10, and, let's see, that's all of the data we have on that chart. No additional conversation since we gave you those readings. At 29 hours, 21 minutes; this is Apollo Control, Houston.
029:23:26 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8. How do you read? [No answer.]
029:23:40 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8. [No answer.]
Long comm break.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. Within the last half-hour, several members of the crew here have had another conversation with the Apollo 8, in private, regarding their medical situation and, apparently, it is much improved. We will have this tape for you shortly, but in general, Borman reports feeling much, much better. We'd estimate it will be 15 minutes before we have the tape. This is Apollo Control, Houston.
By the Flight Plan, Frank should have begun a sleep period after being up for eleven hours. Evidently, the sleep/wake cycles planned for are not being kept and the crew will find them increasingly difficult to follow.
Arguably, the biggest failure in Apollo 8's flight planning is the idea that one crewmember should be awake at all times during the mission, in the event that there is a situation that must be quickly attended to. While a noble idea, the Apollo 8 crew is quickly finding this unworkable.
Journal Contributor Dave Hardin - "That was also the procedure on Apollo 7, and it didn't work much better for that crew. The end result was that none of the three crew members got totally uninterrupted sleep, possibly contributing to Wally Schirra's famous irascibilty (in combination with his head cold) which was also seen briefly (touchy tempers, I mean) from both Donn Eisele and Walt Cunningham over time. Eisele's sleep was apparently interrupted more often, reasonably, with the other two up and working while he tried to sleep. As Cunningham wrote in his book The All American Boys, he awoke during one of his sleep periods to find Eisele floating up in the tunnel, also fast asleep."
So much activity had been scheduled throughout the Apollo 8 flight that there was never an idle or quiet time aboard the spacecraft. Despite attempts to keep noise and activity levels to a minimum, the awake crewmember would always manage to keep the others awake. In the end, a loose version of the sleep/wake schedule would be followed, and by the next mission (Apollo 9), the crew slept at the same time.
029:32:10 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8.
029:32:12 Collins: Roger. Apollo 8, Houston. Go ahead.
029:32:17 Borman: Roger. We are dumping some water we collected here, and we are ready to dump the waste water down to 25 percent. Do you concur?
029:32:23 Collins: Roger. We concur. We are standing by for your dump.
029:32:29 Borman: Alright. We've already started the other.
029:32:31 Collins: Roger. Thank you.
Long comm break.
This is the waste water dump that was added a couple of hours ago. With this out of the way, flight controllers can gain some long term, accurate tracking of the spacecraft without perturbation from unwanted sources.
029:36:40 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. [No answer.]
029:36:47 Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over. [No answer.]
Comm break.
029:38:21 Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over.
029:38:26 Borman: Roger. This is Apollo 8.
029:38:28 Collins: Roger. We are getting geared up down here to do the first of the comm checks. We will be doing an Omni comm check, which is on your Flight Plan, listed mode 7.8, and we will let you know when we are ready to proceed.
029:38:50 Borman: Roger.
Comm break.]
The column of the Flight Plan for Mission Control activities (MCC-H) has a large list of communications tests that are due to be carried out in this hour. The final version of the Flight Plan (dated November 22, 1968) did not include test 7.8 but the versions that were carried onboard has changes penned in to include it, reflecting the short timescale in which Apollo 8 was planned.
029:40:01 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over.
029:40:05 Anders: Roger, Houston. We are dumping waste water now. How is the nozzle temperature?
029:40:11 Collins: Stand by. Looks good, Bill; 64 degrees [18° Celsius]. Over.
As the waste water meets the vacuum of space, some of it vaporises quickly, taking heat away as it does so. The remainder forms ice crystals. There is a possibility that the nozzle itself can ice up so a temperature probe and heater are included to help avoid this.
029:40:24 Anders: Roger. We just got an O2 flow high from purging to vent line on the cabin.
Since oxygen is used to pressurise the water system, expelling water leaves more room for oxygen and causes an increase in the flow rate from the tanks.
029:40:32 Collins: Roger. Understand. [Long pause.]
029:40:47 Borman: How is everything in Houston.
029:40:51 Collins: Oh, just fine, Frank. Everything down here is Go. How are you?
029:40:56 Borman: Fine. What is the news?
029:41:01 Collins: Well, did you get the intergalactic news summary we sent up to you a couple of hours ago? It might have been during your rest period. We gave you a couple of football scores. One of them in particular was - I don't know if you copied that - Army 21, Navy 14. Over.
Collins is repeating news from 4½ hours ago, but it's not the kind of news Bill wants to hear. Collins' quick wit to the fore.
029:41:21 Borman: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven; testing out.
029:41:24 Lovell: I got that one. [Pause.]
029:41:30 Collins: Roger. The Cowboys were destroyed by the Cleveland Browns yesterday. The Pueblo crew is expected to be released. And I now hear our air-to-ground has got a lot of background noise. Stand by; we are going to go through these comm test modes on page 2-23 of the Flight Plan. Over.
029:41:57 Borman: Roger. [Pause.]
029:42:03 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Would you go S-band Aux switch to Down-Voice Backup. Over.
029:42:11 Borman: Down-Voice Backup. Roger and out.
This puts the voice link from the spacecraft to Earth onto a backup channel.
029:42:13 Collins: Thank you.
029:42:17 Borman: Houston, be advised that it looks like your Quindars are clipping your voice during your transmission.
A characteristic of Apollo communications that has stayed within the cultural realm long after the missions, is the short tones that go with the air/ground speech. Without knowing what they were, many people for years after associated the particular high technology pursuit of space flight as being carried out to the accompaniment of beeps. No caricature of the astronauts was complete without an emulation of the tones before and after every utterance. Their true nature is simple. They go before and after an utterance by CapCom. They are Quindar tones and their function is to tell a remote site (one of the tracking stations in direct communication with the spacecraft) to switch the CapCom's voice to the transmitters. They last only a quarter of a second but the CapCom needs to wait slightly for their function to be properly completed.
Mike Dinn, from 2002 correspondence: "The only reason for the Quindar system (I think) was to eliminate, or greatly reduce, the risk of any unauthorised voice on the circuit going up to the spacecraft. There were some comm modes where we used 'constant keying', where downlink from one spacecraft at one station was uplinked to the other spacecraft at a different station, so the Quindar system was effectively bypassed."
029:42:25 Collins: Roger, Understand. Are we still experiencing this intermittent condition that was there a few minutes ago?
029:42:33 Borman: Not always, but often in the beginning and in the end or your transmission.
029:42:39 Collins: Roger. Understand. I'll give it a little extra time.
Comm break.
029:45:44 Collins: Go. [Pause.]
029:45:52 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over. [No answer.]
029:46:01 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Could you try to find us a better Omni antenna? Over.
029:46:10 Borman: [Garbled. Pause.]
029:46:22 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. We are unable to read you on this Omni antenna. Over. [Long pause.]
029:46:54 Borman: Houston, Apollo 8. [Garbled.]
029:47:07 Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over. [No answer.]
This is Apollo Control, Houston. 29 hours, 47 minutes. I would like to amplify a bit more on [the] recent taped conversation. Mike Collins opens it and this was a private conversation conducted from the communication room in this building, building 30. Collins asked the crew for additional detail on their condition and Frank Borman comes on the line and he describes his problems and he also says he has had several hours of rest this morning and is feeling much, much better. Jim Lovell, in the conversation, also reveals, for the first time, that he apparently wasn't feeling too well when they first went into orbit yesterday, and this was the first we had learned of that. He, of course, said that this was a momentary thing and he describes it in very finite terms. Let's see, that covers everybody but Bill Anders and he reports just generally feeling better and apparently a case of the butterfly stomach or some such this morning. Borman elaborates a bit and says he thinks he had a 24-hour virus. He says he noted some diarrhea, an upset stomach, and he describes some vomiting. Our head physician, Dr. Berry, gets on the line with Borman and presses him for additional detail, which is forthcoming but, in the end, Berry feels that the situation is considerably better than when we first learned of it, perhaps an hour or more ago, Within perhaps 5 or 10 minutes we should have the tape, which is now en route to our news center in building 1, on the line for you to play, ... Other than that, we are right on the Flight Plan and we are still scheduled for a television pass, beginning at 2:06 Houston time. ...
029:47:47 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. We understand you are copying us. While we are trying to reestablish contact with you, would you put your optics switch to zero? We show you are drifting off in trunnion and request that you zero your optics. [Pause.]
The trunnion axis of the optics normally sits in the zero position when unused. A switch on panel 122, just below the optics eyepiece panel, is provided to carry this out.
029:48:26 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. We copy your optics zeroed, and how are you reading us now? Over. [No answer.]
Comm break.
029:49:37 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. We are down to 25 percent on your waste water dump and ready to terminate. Over.
029:49:45 Borman: Roger.
Comm break.
029:51:01 Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over.
029:51:06 Borman: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8.
029:51:08 Collins: Roger, Our next comm test is ranging only test. I have four switches I would like you to throw, which will cause you to lose voice communications for approximately 3 minutes. Over.
029:51:23 Borman: Roger. Go ahead.
029:51:26 Collins: Alright. The first one is S-band Normal, Mode, Voice, Off; the second, S-band Normal, Mode, PCM, Off; the third, S-band Normal, Mode, Ranging, switch to Ranging; and fourth, the S-band Aux tape switch, Off. Over.
Long comm break.
Collins is asking for a group of switches on panel 3 of the Main Display Console to be set. On the third row from the bottom, three switches define what operational modes can be used with the S-band system and two more select what is fed onto the auxiliary downlink channel. For this test, all modes are switched off except the ranging function. To recap, ranging is achieved by sending a complex digital code (a sort of digital pseudo-random noise) to the spacecraft which then returns it on its downlink. The delay caused by its journey to and from the spacecraft gives a measure of range.
029:55:48 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Request S-band Normal, Mode Ranging to Off, and S-band Normal, Mode, PCM, to PCM. I say again, S-band Normal, Mode, Ranging, Off; S-band Normal, Mode, PCM, to PCM.
For the next test, the ranging function is being switched off and the PCM function alone is going onto the S-band radio system. PCM is Pulse Code Modulation, an old term from for the transmission of digital information by radio. In this context, it refers to the digital technique used to send readings from the myriad of sensors around the spacecraft to Earth.
029:56:17 Collins: Apollo 8. Houston. We'll stand by in this configuration for a moment.
Comm break.
The Public Affairs Office announcer is about to introduce the tape that was made of the crew's discussion with Flight Surgeon Chuck Berry sometime after 028:18:14.
This is Apollo Control, Houston. ... We now have the conversation in which we have alluded to in two earlier announcements, a rather full development on examination of the crew medical problems. You will hear first Mike Collins, the Capsule Communicator, he is talking with Bill Anders. Then he talks to Frank Borman, then Chuck Berry, who I believe identifies himself, comes on the line. Here is that tape now:
Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over.
Anders: Go ahead, Houston. How do you read?
Collins: Roger. We are reading you loud and clear. We are on a private loop now and we would like to get some amplifying details on your medical problems. Could you go back to the beginning and give us a brief recap, please?
The private loop Mike Collins is referring to is on the ground, and is not a special communications frequency to the spacecraft. Several 'loops', or communications channels, exist throughout Mission Control. These loops allow controllers working on a particular function to have a private conversation between themselves and support staff, without having to filter out the chatter of unrelated conversations. Often, controllers would be 'plugged in' to several loops: The Flight Controllers loop, their connection to their SPAN (Spacecraft Analysis) room, and perhaps to another controller.
Borman: Mike, this is Frank. I'm feeling a lot better now. I think I had a case of the 24-hour flu, intestinal flu.
Collins: Roger; understand. When did you first notice it? Or can you go back to P00 and start us out at the beginning of your problem?
Collins is applying Apollo computer jargon to his question. P00 is the "do nothing" state for the computer and he restates its meaning in this context immediately after.
Borman: Roger. About, I guess about 20 hours, 19 hours yesterday.
Collins: Roger. Understand about 19 hours yesterday. We were confused by something Jim said in reference to getting out of the suits. He said that he felt a little bit uneasy when he first got out of the couch and started to get out of the suits and that passed away and that you and Bill had, we think, noticed similar things when you took your suits off. Is this so?
Borman: Just when you get out of the seats and start moving around for a while.
Apollo is proving to be a very different experience compared to America's previous two spaceflight programs. In Mercury, the astronaut was tightly strapped into a very small cramped spacecraft. With Gemini, there was only slightly more room and only very occasional opportunities to get out of the restraints. In the Apollo Command Module, though there is much less room than in subsequent spacecraft, there is ample opportunity to float around and move in ways that were impossible previously. Apollo 8 is only the second flight of the spacecraft so there is little experience of what freedom of movement in a weightless environment does to the body's balance system. Subsequent flights aboard Apollo, the Shuttle and by other nations will show that thirty percent of the people who get the chance to float in a large cabin will feel some amount of nausea or other discomfort for the first day, until their body's vestibular system adapts to the conditions. Jim and Bill felt it to a mild extent; Frank suffered its more serious form.
Collins: Roger. Understand. We understand this does cause nausea, in all three of you. You have all three noticed it when you've gotten out of the suits for the first time or any time, is that right?
Borman: Roger. Uneasiness, not nausea really, but a sort of awareness of motion, like the zero-g airplane.
Collins: Roger, understand.
Berry: Apollo 8, this is Houston.
Borman: Go ahead.
Berry: Frank, this is Chuck. The story we got from the tape and from Jim a while ago went like this. At some 10 to 11 hours ago, you had a loose BM, you vomited twice, you have a headache, you've had some chills, and they thought you had fever. Is that affirm?
Borman: Everything is true, but I don't have a fever now. I slept for a couple hours and the nausea is gone, and controlling the loose BM. I think everything is in good shape right now.
Post mission, Frank tones down his description of loose bowel movements.
Berry: Did you have a sore throat?
Borman: The roof of my mouth was sore, Roger.
Berry: And as we understand it at the moment, Frank, neither Bill nor Jim have anything at the present time except some nausea. Is that right?
Borman: No, none of us are nauseated now. We are all fine now.
Berry: Okay, and you have taken the Lomotil?
Borman: No, no we haven't. Pardon me, yes they have.
Berry: They have and you have not?
Borman: Roger. I just woke up, Chuck. They took them while I was asleep.
Berry: Okay, I think you ought to take one, Frank, and the Marezine will help if that nausea returns. The Marezine will knock that...
Borman: Houston, we are going to start doing this waste water dump down to 25 percent. Do you concur?
Collins: We don't know, Bill. If you can stand by one, we're isolated from those experts at this time.
Berry: Frank, did you read that you are to take the Lomotil and the Marezine can be used if you do get nauseated, any one of the three of you.
Borman: Okay, thank you.
Lomotil is an effective anti-diarrhea drug, and Marezine is used to relieve nausea and its associated vomiting due to motion sickness.
Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. We are closing this circuit down and we will be up in our normal voice loop in about 5 minutes and then we will get on with the water dump.
Borman: Roger, and you are still cutting out, Houston.
Collins: Roger, understand.
This is Apollo Control Houston. That concluded the private conversation to determine the medical status of the crew. We learned, of course, in the conversation, obviously we learned about some things that were going on yesterday, much earlier in the flight, I think the report was 19 hours, which we had not learned until this point. We are satisfied now that the crew, the situation is certainly improving and certainly settled down. At 29 hours, 57 minutes into the flight, we are 118,400 [nautical] miles [219,300 km] out, and we are moving at a velocity of 4,739 feet per second [1,444 m/s]. This is Apollo Control, Houston.
Dr Chuck Berry, from the December 22, 1968 Change of Shift Press Briefing - "I think we have a pretty good handle on it at the present time. I'd like to assure all of you that it's not my aim to continue to treat celestial illness - it appears that seems to be something that we are getting into here, but in spite of precautions that have been taken, it appears that we have contracted something that has involved to some extent all three crew members, and it looks at the moment as if Frank started out about 19 hours into the flight, some 10 to 11 hours ago, and developed some nausea and some vomiting, a loose stool, and he has had some headache and some chills and fever with this. He is markedly improved after the last sleep period of two hours. He has now taken some medication - we've put all three of them on Lomotil. The other two crewmen have had only some nausea at the present time, and none of them at the moment are nauseated. They will be given Marezine if they do have the nausea return. There is an interesting comment that there was also some uneasiness. It was described by Frank as a feeling of uneasiness at any rate, when they were free in the spacecraft, when they were moving about off the couches, and got out of the suits, and they didn't really relate this to exactly a nausea feeling, but the implication is that there is some tie initially between some of the nausea that the other two, Jim and Bill, have felt, with this movement about the spacecraft early in the game. So this may be the type of thing that we see with motion sickness, it is just going to take some more watching to see. None of them have it at the present time, it probably was a self-limited thing."
029:58:30 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Three communication switch positions. First, S-band, Aux, tape, to Down-Voice Backup; S-band Normal, Mode, PCM, Off; Telemetry Inputs PCM, High. I say again, S-band, Aux, tape, to Down-Voice Backup; S-band Normal, Mode, PCM to Off; Telemetry Inputs PCM to High.
For this next test, the main S-band communications channel to Earth is set to carry only high bit-rate telemetry data, while the auxiliary channel is switched to its backup role of carrying voice communications from the spacecraft.
029:59:05 Anders: Roger. Houston, this is Apollo 8. How do you read?
029:59:08 Collins: Reading you weak but clear now, Bill.
029:59:14 Anders: Roger. We still have a bad look angle on this antenna. [Pause.]
029:59:28 Lovell: Apollo 8, Houston.
029:59:30 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Go ahead.
029:59:34 Lovell: Please be informed that the [garble]. Over.
029:59:41 Collins: Apollo 8. Houston. Unable to copy. After about a minute of this configuration, we're going to return to normal voice, and at that time, we should be able to hear you better.
029:59:58 Borman: Roger. What [garble] are we going through right now?
030:00:17 Collins: Roger. We are in Mode 7-10, and the comm test mode is on page 223. Over. [Long pause.]
030:00:41 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Three switch positions. Telemetry Inputs PCM switch to Low; S-band Normal, Mode, Voice, to Voice; S-band Normal, Mode, PCM, to PCM. I say again, Telemetry Inputs PCM switch, Low; S-band Normal, Mode, Voice, to Voice; S-band Normal, Mode, PCM, to PCM Over.
This is to return their communications setup to normal though it appears that this may not have got through to the crew as Frank is about to switch voice to backup. Telemetry will pass to Earth at the slower, low bit rate and voice comms are returned to the main channel.
030:01:33 Borman: Roger. We're switching over to backup now.
030:01:35 Collins: Reading you very weak. [Pause.]
030:01:46 Anders: We are reading you loud and clear, Houston. [Long pause.]
030:02:41 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Requesting S-band Normal, Mode, Ranging, to Ranging. I say again, S-band Normal, Mode, Ranging to Range. Over.
Comm break.
This will allow the ranging function to be re-established. Mission Control have already said that they want an extended period of uninterrupted tracking and this represents the start of it.
030:04:50 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Requesting S-band Normal, Mode, Ranging to Ranging. Over.
030:05:04 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over. [Pause.]
030:05:17 Borman: Houston, Houston, Apollo 8. How do you read?
030:05:20 Collins: Beautiful, Frank. I'm reading you loud and clear. How me?
030:05:39 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. How do you read? Over. [No answer.]
030:06:06 Collins: Apollo 8. this is Houston. Over. [No answer.]
030:06:49 Collins: Apollo 8, this is Houston. Over.
030:06:53 Borman: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8.
030:06:56 Collins: Roger. Reading you loud and clear. How me?
030:07:00 Borman: You're loud and clear, Michael.
030:07:02 Collins: Okay. We're still looking for the S-band, Normal, Mode, Ranging to Ranging.
030:07:12 Borman: I guess we didn't hear that one. Going to Ranging.
030:07:14 Collins: Roger.
030:07:16 Borman: It's in Ranging now.
030:07:18 Collins: Thank you. [Long pause.]
030:07:39 Borman: And - Houston, Apollo 8 - what size antenna are you going to now?
030:07:54 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. We're working through Ascension, a 30-footer. Over.
This dish is just less than 10 metres diameter, small in comparison with the 26-metre and 64-metre dishes that were used exclusively when Apollo 8 was in orbit around the Moon.
030:08:03 Borman: Okay. We - our signal strength is [garble] AGC is pretty low up here.
AGC is Automatic Gain Control and is an acronym familiar to anyone involved with radio engineering, taking this author (Woods) back to his early career aiming microwave dishes for sending television outside broadcast signals around the country.
A meter to the bottom right of panel 2 on the Main Display Console shows the signal strength received from Earth. Frank's use of the term AGC probably refers to the way the signal strength indication is derived. The range of signal strength coming from the antenna into the receiver can vary wildly, yet it is necessary for downstream electronics to be fed with a constant signal level which they can then decode. It is customary to have an electronic circuit that acts like a fast volume control to automatically amplify the incoming signal to a constant level. This circuit provides automatic gain control and the control signal it generates provides a useful indication of signal strength.
030:08:08 Collins: Roger. Understand.
Comm break.
030:09:32 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Requesting S-band Aux, Tape to Off. This should put us back in the normal configuration. Over. [Long pause.]
030:10:32 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. Over.
030:10:38 Borman: Go ahead, Houston. Apollo 8.
030:10:39 Collins: Okay. S-band Aux, Tape to Off. That returns us to normal configuration, and we need a couple of items from you. First, the CMP and LMP status report, and we'd like to know, did you chlorinate the water after your last meal? Over.
This status report will include readings on all three crewmembers from their PRDs (Passive radiation Dosimeters).
030:11:10 Borman: No, we haven't chlorinated the water, yet. We'll get the other for you.
030:11:13 Collins: Roger. Thank you.
030:11:14 Anders: Houston, do you show the FM - Houston, Apollo 8 - do you show the FM on now?
030:11:22 Collins: Stand by and we'll check it, Bill.
030:11:26 Anders: Because our S-band Aux, Tape has been Off. Possibly - we don't have control of it. [Long pause.]
030:12:29 Collins: Apollo 8, Houston. We've switched on all the communications switch; functions are operating normally, Bill.
030:12:37 Anders: Okay, Mike. Thanks.
030:12:43 Borman: Mike, the PRD readings for the CDR are 4 - that's 0.04, for the CMP is 0.64, and for the LMP is 0.25.
030:12:59 Collins: Good. I copy 0.04, 0.64, 0.25. Thank you.
030:13:06 Borman: Roger.
Long comm break.
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